¶ There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion
of the band called the Italian band,
.2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
A city on the coast which was the Roman provincial headquarters. See map.
Devout man But, for the Jewish people, he was still a Gentile. It was some time later when the Christian Jews finally realized that God recognized no difference at all between the two groups – that circumcision was irrelevant ac15, ga0212. And today many Christians have the problem the Jews had then. They believe that Jews will be treated differently by God.
Alms Gifts or offerings.
| 3 He saw in a vision
evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to
him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
.4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
.6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
.7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
| 3 -
a vision Compare the call of Samuel 1sa03.
4 - Afraid The angel was as a "man ... in bright clothing v30. The word lord, kurios, here would have been a term of respect like "sir" although if Cornelius thought the individual was a divine being he may have intended "lord."
4 - Prayers ... alms They went up to God in heaven as the incense of of the golden altar re0508.
4 - Joppa A good distance to the south. See map.
6 - He lodgeth God knows all about us. That's a great comfort to those who love and fear Him.
Considered to have been the home of Simon the tanner, v6
| 9 ¶ On the morrow, as
they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up
upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
.10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
.11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel [an object, NKJV] descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
.14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
- Would have eaten Or "began to want to eat."
10 - Trance ekstasis the origin of our word "ecstasy." Literally, "standing aside" and thus the idea of the mind being focused away from the present reality. Luke uses the word for Paul's vision ac2217 and the Septuagint (translation from Hebrew to Greek) uses it for ge1512. We would call it a vision – a condition where the natural human senses are replaced. 2co1203.
12 - All manner Clearly a wide a variety. "creeping things" would have been or included reptiles. Interestingly it did not include fish. These also were not taken into the ark.
13 - Rise ... and eat Peter was hungry v10. The message from the Lord was a command. Many people look at this story and conclude that eating swine or other unclean animals is now okay. However, see the note for le11.
15 - Cleansed Did God ever cleanse animals for food? I believe He did. First, remember that sacrifices which represent Christ were "clean" animals as in nu0715. Clean and unclean are described in le11. A sacrifical animal is evident in the offering of Abel ge0404. The first sacrificed animal, however, was the one that provided clothing for Adam and Eve ge0321. Apparently God designated certain creatures as clean (cleansed them) and others as unclean at the time of the fall. We would not expect any unclean animals in Eden. In any case, the distinction was clear before the flood ge0702. Although some animals were then clean, they were authorized as food only after the flood ge0903. Also see 2ch3017.
| 15 And the voice spake
unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou
.16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
- Common Peter recognized two categories in v14, common and
unclean. God objected to his attitude about the common creatures not to
the unclean ones.
What made an animal in the sheet common? Touching unclean things made a person unclean is5211. The Jewish rule-makers had added requirements beyond those given by God mr0701-13. Apparently Peter thought that the clean animals in the sheet were unacceptable just by being among the unclean ones v28. Thus he called them "common." We soon see how God's clarification here helped Peter.
| 17 Now while Peter doubted
in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the
men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house,
and stood before the gate,
18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
|17 - Doubted Rather, "was perplexed." God had already arranged the answer.|
| 19 ¶ While Peter thought
on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
- I am he whom ye seek This must have confirmed their faith,
assuming that Peter spoke to them before they had a chance to explain their
22 - Cornelius ... feareth God Although Peter apparently didn't make the connection at this point, Cornelius would have been to the Jews a "common" person but one whose heart had been cleansed and who stood pure before God ro0229.
| 24 And the morrow after
they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called
together his kinsmen and near friends.
.25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
- Cornelius ... worshipped Peter clearly did not accept this
nor did He consider himself as more than an apostle. Jesus was the head
of the church and the one to be worshipped jn2028.
26 - Peter took him up He raised him up. This is an important verse. It clarifies that Peter was an ordinary man, not a someone who should be reverenced." To worship saints, or even angels, is to efface the distinction that should ever exist between God and man." (SDA Bible Commentary). See re2209.
And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man
that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but
God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
|28 - Unlawful "There was no express prohibition to this effect, and to a Certain extent intercourse was certainly kept up. (See the Gospel history, towards the end). But intimate social fellowship was not practiced," (JFB). This prejudice was certainly at the foundation of the failure of the Jewish nation to spread the light to the world.|
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at
the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me
in bright clothing,
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that
God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
.36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
.37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
.38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
- No respecter This was the whole point of the dream about
the sheet and the animals. God treats all humanity alike. How then dare
we look down on anyone for ethnic or other reasons.
38 - Anointed Here Peter recognized Jesus' baptism as an anointing. Compare mt0316. The terms, Messiah and Christ, both mean "anointed one." Also see on da0924.
And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the
Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
.42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
39 - We are witnesses Peter had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry jn0140ff and felt the mission of sharing what he knew ac0108, lu2448.
39 - They slew and hanged See on ac0530.
41 - Witnesses The followers of Christ were to tell their experience with Him. mt2819, jn1706, ac0108, 2pe0116.
|43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.||Prophets witness They understood the OT prophecies, many of which had been ignored or misinterpreted. Jesus probably explained them.|
¶ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them
which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
|46 - Tongues The gift of the Spirit v45 must have filled them with joy as at Pentecost ac0204. The closeness of the divine presence brought forth their praise. The gifts of the Spirit are for practical use. They had learned new truth and were filled with eagerness to share it.|